Not quite the same magnitude, but if you ever wondered what 1980 felt like - now you know.
There will be many post-mortems. From past elections, I'll mention these points that strike me:
- Democratic partisanship is weaker than Republican partisanship. Has been for the duration of my attention over elections.
- When the papers harp on 'landslides' for a Democratic candidate, Democrats stay home. Media was talking of landslides, and beating on Nate Silver for being pessimistic, as late as yesterday afternoon. If there's ever a lesson to learn, it's that turnout is everything. Republicans do it as a duty. Democrats do it when convenient. We were supposed to learn this after Bush/Gore. The Trump talk of pollwatchers, and the media's wild fantasies about poll violence scared off a percentage, I'll guarantee you.
- Clinton had no message for those who are still being hurt by this economy. It may be showing promising numbers nationally, but regionally, the economy still sucks and we're only now getting back to pre-housing-crunch levels. You have to talk with the people, not to them, or at them. I'm looking at Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania. The rhetoric for urban elites doesn't fly in rural areas, and neither does "trust me, I know what's best for you." She should have taken a page from Bill (and James Carville): 'It's the economy, stupid' ... and 'Change, not more of the same.' I should also point out the 'deplorables' comment struck the Rust Belt as hard as the "Let them eat cake" statement by Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. It underlined, as nothing else could, the divide between Clinton's arrogant and elitist view of her former allies, and the anti-establishment benefit Trump might represent. I suspect that is the exact point where she lost this race. Only Trump's inconsistency prevented a total Reaganistic rout.
- The Democrats treated the Presidency as if it were another Space Shuttle flight. "We had one minority, let's send up another." Setting up Ms. Clinton immediately after Obama was a huge risk just on minority status alone. Statistical likelihood of two back-to-back holes-in-one? It's not misogyny, it's cold calculating strategy. I opposed her in the primary from the start for just this reason. Add her significant baggage, her unappealing speaking style, and you realize how weak an offering she was. Whenever she got out in public, sans the pomp and circumstance of conventions, her popularity slowly slumped to decline - we saw this effect repeatedly in '08. It was a known issue. Only Trump's controversies built enthusiasm for her and brought her welcome peaks. [Look at FiveThirtyEight, see the peaks and valleys]. You can't win when your only method for gaining attention is when your opponent screws up. Sadly, it was the wrong time - and the wrong woman - to break this glass ceiling. It's a hideous thing to have to point out, but Trump won the charisma battle - an obtuse charisma against no charisma. The women left in Congress are going to have to work double-hard to mitigate the negative effects of this loss. Elizabeth Warren, you're our last great hope here ... but it may take more than a decade to get over this election.
- The media and 'false equivalence' were bad enough. I warned you all that the media would create a horserace where one didn't exist, as they did in Bush/Gore 2000. Worst is the feeling that we have been woefully uninformed of what the actual conditions on the ground were. Reality had no place in this election. Most were talking of a Clinton landslide, poo-pooing Nate Silver's doubts as late as yesterday afternoon. News and media need a sharp reset. The profitmaking goals of organizations mitigate directly against accurate reporting of facts. The loss of longtime journalists and the use of young freelancers - economic realities! - is reducing the actual value of what's reported. And this reset needs to start at the local level. I don't know about you, but an accident happens outside my community, I can toss a coin as to whether it'll ever show up in the local paper. That's idiotic. News is important.
- Poll technology needs a serious upgrade to modern communication methods. But even so, many were unwilling to reveal their preference for Trump, because of the weighty baggage involved. I think Trump will prove ultimately un-pollable. The lack of lawn signs and bumper stickers - for either candidate - should have clued us all in to the fact that this election was different. People were actively afraid to declare their allegiances in public. In that atmosphere, how could polls be accurate? I mentioned this a couple of times, but never parsed it correctly.
- I believe the FBI/Comey announcement of a week past did significant damage. Hillary might have squeaked this out, but the reminder of how many scandals the Republicans would oppose Hillary with, so close to election, turned off many. I think that capped our election exhaustion. The ACA's new rates certainly didn't help. She knew those rates were coming, and only sent her journalistic minions to minimize the impact - she, in perfect Clintonian style, didn't want to have to make any policy promises (never tie the hands). Unwise. Voters voted for change, not for gridlock. Comey reminded them of gridlock, the ACA reminded them of what Democrats did to their wallets. And both came hard and fast, at the worst possible time for the Clinton campaign.
- Looking back at the Florida statistics I've been posting, it's clear that there was no landslide for Clinton. I was sucked in, as all were, that any Democratic early ballots would be for Hillary. I should have taken more notice of the mail-ins being predominantly Republican and the razor-thin margin. It was a pretty clear sign that rough times were ahead. The Clinton campaign should have redoubled their turnout troops.
- No matter that the Republicans are the ones grinding Washington to a halt. The economically disadvantaged folks wanted to throw a bomb into DC, to see if anything would change. And they'll press for change, for better or worse. There's a psychological malady among isolated prisoners. They cut themselves to see some color in their drab prison environs. Being on the bad side of this economy is dismal, and the Dems are off playing banjos (A Nixon reference, sorry) saying everything's GREAT. The electorate just sliced themselves, hoping for even a small bit of change, to see if it could still occur.
- This is going to be a sore point. Her continuing promotion of women and women's issues - the way she phrased these goals - landed on male ears as decidedly anti-male. "Half the cabinet will be women." What about most-qualified people? Obama never said he'd stuff his cabinet with one minority - he chose well-qualified people from many. Feminism is achieving equal rights, not making up for an historical deficit by gender-stuffing women into the cabinet all at once. Add to that the Clinton faithful who spent their time schooling their male companions on their passive misogyny - constantly. I was personally attacked more than once for using the pronoun "she" in the wrong tone! Their Clinton-awakened oversensitivity drove multitudes to silently back Trump.
One spark of hope. A friend on Facebook posted that Trump used to be a Democrat. Perhaps this persona he's adopted is a cynical bar-brawler put in place to simply win. That he'll revert to previous after election. Pointing out some of Trump's positions are to the left of Clinton's.
It's not much. But it's a hope.